Choux pastry, a sprinkling of sugar... and a lot of air.
Keyword: chou, choux, pastry, pâtisserie
pearl sugarto taste
In a saucepan, heat up the water, milk and butter over medium heat until the butter is melted.
Turn the heat down, dump in the flour and salt, and with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir vigorously. Make sure there are no lumps, and still stirring, let the flour in the dough cook and absorb until the dough forms a ball.
Take the pan off the heat and keep stirring for a few minutes, to help the dough cool off a bit.
Turn the oven on to 200 degrees, 180 fan. Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
Crack the eggs in a bowl and give them a quick whisk to mix in the yolks.
When the dough (and the pan) has cooled down to hand temperature (so the eggs don't curdle), add about a quarter of the eggs and stir until they are thoroughly mixed in. Add a second quarter, mix, a third, mix. After each mix, the dough must be totally homogeneous.
For the last quarter, proceed with caution. The trick now is to add just as much as needed. The finished batter must hang in a V shape from the spoon when you lift it from the bowl (look up videos, there are hundreds of them).
Spoon the batter into a piping bag, fitted with a smooth round nozzle (or a star nozzle if you're feeling adventurous).
At this stage, it is possible to refrigerate the choux pastry for a while, even overnight. According to Philippe Conticini, this makes for a less bumpy item when the pastry bakes.
Pipe the pastry in small rounds, about 4cm in diameter. Tamp down the "nipple" on each chou with wet fingers. Sprinkle with a bit of pearl sugar.
Put both baking trays in the oven and let bake for about 30 minutes. DON'T open the oven door until you can see that the chouquettes are well puffed-up and a burnished colour. One of my other indicators is a strong smell of well-cooked egg.
Take out of the oven and place on a cooling rack. They should not sag or collapse.
If the chouquettes in one of the trays look paler than the others, leave them in until they are done as well.
Lovely with a cuppa or the coffee drink of your choice...
After a recipe by Mercotte, who wrote it after Philippe Conticini...